"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."—Mark Twain "Poison Spyder is back."—Larry McRae
If you've had your finger on the pulse of the trail-riding world over the last decade then Poison Spyder Customs is a familiar name. Poison Spyder's lineup of hardcore hardware deftly mixed no-nonsense trail function with an unmistakable sense of style. Success bred success and bred more success until one day owner Clifton Slay, found himself in the middle of something so big it had annihilated the fun factor. Determined to simplify his life, Slay reluctantly closed the Spyder web down in late '08. The company was just a memory until Larry and Cheri McRae decided that a living, breathing Poison Spyder was essential to the trail-riding world and that they were going to do something about it. The McRae's met with Slay, exchanged cash and handshakes, and Poison Spyder was back to life.
That same finger on the pulse of the trail-riding world should tell you that Larry McRae is no newcomer. Larry was one-half of the All-Pro Off-Road rock-crawling team that won the '03 rock-crawling championship, with Jon Bundrant at the wheel and Larry filling the spotter's role. "Although we were surrounded by Toyota rigs with All-Pro, we're longtime Jeep enthusiasts," Larry clarifies. The McRae's moved Poison Spyder's headquarters from Denver, Colorado, to Banning, California. Where's Banning? It's close to Johnson Valley and the Hammer trails: a peerless testing ground.
While Poison Spyder's lineup for older Jeeps was well-established, the JK product line was somewhat limited when Clifton closed the doors. This gave Larry and Cheri a chance to pick up where Slay had left off. We crossed paths with Poison Spyder at last October's Off-Road Expo, and arranged an afternoon on the rocks.
"We bought our JK as a test bed for new products," Larry explained. "Then we fell in love with it. We were going to keep it mild, but that's not what Poison Spyder is all about." As a result, the Spyder flagship includes one-off custom suspension, Currie RockJock Dana 60's, Poison Spyder Crusher front fenders, Crusher rear flares and corners, Poison Spyder Rocker Knockers, and an Atlas II transfer case, among other upgrades.